A rarity in most cases, but a daily part of our lives: Film crews on an industrial site.
Most camera operators do not also operate heavy machinery. Most directors, producers and camera units do not carry a pair of steel-toed shoes, safety glasses and hard hats with them. We do.
There are the potential snags in your production that we will discuss. It’s important to remember that camera equipment is expensive. A mid-level camera system easily runs between $5,000 and $25,000. Production companies will naturally want to protect their assets. What isn’t so well-known, is that many insurance companies will not cover video equipment used on industrial sites where heavy machinery is operating live. So the video production company has a lot at stake on your set. If their equipment is damaged at a shoot, it could be a large loss for them.
Communicate often and clearly. Clearly explain the dangers of the work site beforehand. The crew will need to understand the risks that are present on site and be prepared with the correct camera protection as well as personal protection equipment.
Consider the cost. If you are filming live equipment, it may be wise to determine which cost is higher: running the equipment or running the crew. This should determine who takes priority when stops, starts, and reshoots are needed. If there is an error during a shot, this may come into question.
Enforce Personal Protective Equipment. Explain the rules, if any, regarding PPE on your site. Make sure the film crew knows they themselves are expected to wear personal protective equipment on site. Pry a little to see if they are confident wearing PPE while working. We’ve seen many inexperienced camera operators try to lose the safety glasses while shooting because they “can’t see as well”. We purchase medical-grade safety glasses for this very reason and keep them on hand during a shoot. We also require our camera operators experience shooting with safety glasses before going live in the field. We wouldn’t want to risk missing a shot over something completely avoidable.
Make them watch the orientation video or presentation. We highly recommend you also make them pass the quiz, just like a regular contractor would. Film crews routinely are used to special privileges, but in workplaces with dangerous industrial machinery, it’s best they fully understand the hazards at your site. You wouldn’t want someone leaning on something or absentmindedly placing their hand somewhere dangerous.
If they are there to film the orientation video, make sure they have read the site rules at the very least.